Full title of dissertation
(Candidate Name) and Student Number
A dissertation submitted to Wrexham Glyndŵr University in accordance with the requirements of the degree of MBA
(Month and Year of Submission)
Word Count: 9000B5
The 250-word limit should be strictly adhered to and the summary should be single spaced and presented on one page only and incorporate the main points. This page should not be numbered. Your abstract does not count towards the overall word count. Dedication and acknowledgements are at the discretion of the author.
References (and bibliography) The Glyndŵr Harvard system for referencing must be strictly adhered to. The sources of all images and diagrams must be acknowledged immediately adjacent to the border of the figure concerned.
A signed declaration is required stating how far the work contained in the dissertation is the candidate’s own work and how far it has been conducted in collaboration with, or with the assistance of, others. See sample overleaf.
SAMPLE DISSERTATION DECLARATION AUTHOR’S DECLARATION I declare that the work in this dissertation was carried out in accordance with the Regulations of Wrexham Glyndŵr University. The work is original except where indicated by special reference in the text and no part of the dissertation has been submitted for any other degree. Any views expressed in the dissertation are those of the author and in no way represent those of Wrexham Glyndŵr University. The dissertation has not been presented to any other University for examination either in the United Kingdom or overseas. I hereby give my consent for my dissertation, if accepted, to be available for photocopying, inter-library loan and where warranted catalogued within the Wrexham Glyndŵr University online repository, and for the title and summary to made available to outside organisations. This dissertation is being submitted in accordance with the requirements for the degree of MBA.
Dissertations are required to follow this typical structure:
1. Title page – providing the required details (refer to Completion Guidelines). Note that the title of the dissertation does not have to be exactly the same as your original proposal.
3. Abstract – this should be a ‘potted version’ of the complete dissertation with concise information about the research questions, aim/objectives, methodology, types of data or information gathered, methods of analysis, A6 and any conclusions or recommendations made. Refer to the Completion Guidelines for further details of the Abstract. These pages (á above á) are not numbered
4. Contents page – the table of contents must list in sequence, with page numbers: all chapters, sections and subsections; the list of references; the bibliography (if featured); list of abbreviations; and any appendices with the appropriate page numbers on which they are to be found. It is not necessary to include every sub-heading. An indented layout makes for clarity. The list of tables and illustrations must follow the table of contents and should list, with page numbers, all the tables, images, diagrams, charts, graphs, etc., in the order in which they appear. Numbered using Roman numerals.
5. Introduction Sequential Arabic numeral pagination commences at this point with page 1. Note that the Introduction should introduce the dissertation. It need not be lengthy but should provide the reader with a clear and unambiguous statement of the research question or problem which the dissertation addresses. The Introduction can also be used to outline the structure of the dissertation so that the reader is helped to understand its flow. It may also help to describe the research aim and objectives in the Introduction.
6. Background This section provides the reader with an understanding of the context of the research question (e.g. the ‘where’ and ‘how’ circumstances of the problem), the purpose of addressing it (in topic terms, not Master’s terms) and the reasons for the choice of research objectives. Where the research question is predicated upon some esoteric, obscure or unusual issues, it is worth explaining these or providing some background information.
7. Literature review Your literature review has been submitted as a separate assessment and the content should not be resubmitted within your dissertation – it does not count toward the 9,000 word (+/- 10%) limit. Note however that the rest of your dissertation will feature relevant literature some of which may also feature in your separate review. Literature sources may be used to support the following: background discussion or problem definition; identification and analysis of key concepts; choice of methodology A7 and investigative techniques; methods of data analysis or interpretation; and forms of reasoning or argument used to support conclusions. In particular, there should be a relationship between the findings of your literature review and the discussion of your results and conclusions your dissertation i.e. what did you find, what did similar studies find?
8. Methodology This is a significant element of your dissertation as it determines the manner and form of your enquiry. For the Master’s this is typically the way data is collected and the way it is analysed. For what reason will have been specified in an earlier chapter. In other words, it is how you will undertake the collection and analysis. If done correctly it will exhibit both reliability and validity. Your methodology must seek to achieve both. It is not uncommon to see the methodology chapter split between the choice and development of the research instrument (the means by which you collect your data – qualitative or quantitative or both), and the tools of analysis. You must understand a range of research instruments and tools of analysis in order to select the appropriate ones for the task that you have determined. The choice of research instrument predetermines the range of tools available for analysis. The two are inextricably linked, independent but attached, much like Siamese twins. Note however, the focus of the narrative should be on what you actually did. Other broader but important areas of methodology may well be introduced, for instance, philosophical tenets of reason and rationality. Rationality may well be bounded but it does not necessarily mean that logic is confined in the same manner. There may be an opportunity to look at the nature and use of evidence. Theories and hypotheses are often based upon assumptions which we have to accept to proceed with the argument, knowing their accuracy and relevance may be of crucial importance, such as in the modern managerial behaviour theories. The way you construct your argument in terms of logic, reason and rationality could underpin the whole dissertation and therefore it is necessary to get it right first time. Critical academic assessment is, as stated, critical, but it is difficult to be overly critical of a theory without being able to replace it with something better, whatever that may be. Here lies a link to your literature review. You need to determine and evaluate what the literature says about the methodology you wish to employ. It may be good methodology, but is it appropriate to your task in hand? What approach have other researchers taken? A less sophisticated methodology may yield greater reward, do not undertake a task greater than your ability or outside the time available to do it in. It is better to do something small but A8 well rather than too large, too difficult or too time consuming and as a consequence never submitted. Your supervisor will assist you here if asked. Having undertaken your data collection, part of your findings may well be how well the methodology worked in this particular instance. It may well be that you could contribute to the literature on the subject yourself by publishing, even having your dissertation available for inspection may help others. Do not put the research instrument(s) in the methodology chapter; it goes into an appendix at the end, not in the text. However, you must explain why you have chosen or developed this particular instrument in the text. You must also explain and relate various forms of data you intend to collect and its source, for example, is the analysis on primary or secondary data? How do they reinforce each other (note triangulation within methodology) and how do they contribute to the resolution of your problem (hypothesis). You must also be absolutely explicit on how you have determined your sample and from what population it has been drawn. This may limit the tools of analysis you may wish to employ (for example, in statistics, will the sample be based on probability or non-probability?). The use of descriptive statistics alone may be warranted alongside relevant charts (informed by the type of data) where the sample is non-random (convenience, purposive, etc.). The use of inferential statistics is recommend where a probability (random) sample can be sought. A probability sample requires a list of all members of the population so that a set of potential participants (sample) can be selected at random. Present the information about the number of participants and their demographic profile at the start of your findings. Discussion of how you managed the ethical aspects of your research will feature towards the end of this chapter.
9. Findings Having obtained the data or information from your sample through the medium of your research instruments, you must now explain the data. It is acceptable to put the detailed findings (not raw data) in an appendix and summarize them (could be through tables) in the text. You cannot continue without data but having informed the reader of valid return rates (usable individual instruments) in relation to number sent out, number of waves sent and their response, etc., the whole point of your efforts is to evaluate and interpret the data collected. Where possible, provide evidence that not only has the work been done, but that you, and only you, has actually done it. Your supervisor may check on this if there appear to be any doubts. A9 Evaluation is the application of the tools of analysis explained in the methodology chapter. By applying those tools and coming out with reliable and valid results allows us to apply the human intellect to their interpretation. This chapter is somewhat mechanical, the next chapter will task the little grey cells.
10. Interpretation & Discussion Data is typically only numbers or words whereas information is the interpretation of that data. The methodology you have previously determined in the methodology chapter should have been used. It is neither good practice nor acceptable to indicate that you will be using certain tools of analysis and then not to do so. This chapter may well contain limitations encountered whilst applying your methodology such that interpretation is limited. Consequently, not all analytical tools will contribute to your study in equal proportion. That is for you to decide here. You will also apply the human element of the research, causal relationship. You must explain the logic of your work and use the findings to support it or reject it. The distinction between interpretation and discussion may be an artificial one and you must decide how you wish to write about what you have found. You may wish to use different terminology or structure, but the content will remain fundamentally the same. However, focusing upon the discussion element, it must be analytical and discursive. You are reasoning your original question (or problem, argument or hypothesis), stating the arguments for and against. This is where you bring together the opinions and views that you have found from your separate literature review and what you have found yourself. What is reinforced and what fails to be supported. It is not acceptable to merely have a descriptive ramble about your own results without reference to the bases upon which you commenced your research. This section has the capability of transforming a basic piece of work into a very good one. It exhibits to the reader knowledge of the subject matter, the degree to which the methodology has successfully been chosen, appropriate selection of literature for re-inclusion and the intellect and reasoning that has put it all together, culminating in the drawing of conclusions from the work.
11. Conclusion & Recommendations The conclusion is part summary of the work and part what you have found on the journey. Did you make the correct assumptions, did you select the appropriate methodology, what would you advise fellow researchers following in your footsteps, and the implications of the work to interested parties. The implications will in part be reflected in the recommendations made. How will A10 you make them known? The work is much less valuable if benefit cannot be obtained to others beside the author. If done on or for an organisation the recommendations are the most crucial part of the exercise, therefore make the dissertation relevant to someone or something.
12. References (and Bibliography) A strict use of the Glyndŵr Harvard system is essential. References should be complete and presented in a consistent form. Note that a bibliography is different to a list of references, and the two should be kept separate. A bibliography is optional and is merely a list of texts and sources which you found useful and wish to pass on to readers who may seek to broaden their understanding of the topic area. A list of references, however, is indexed to precise markers within the body of your dissertation’s text (flags) where you are acknowledging the source of an idea or an argument, or of some data, or a quotation, etc. The reference is cited in order to authenticate the source. Its form must, therefore, contain full and exact information to enable someone else to access the original source.
13. Appendices Appendices should be kept to a sensible length. They are not meant as a vehicle for ‘other interesting bits and pieces’ – but for incorporating essential and relevant information which might be too lengthy and detailed to include in the main body of the dissertation or would disrupt the flow of text if included there. Appendices should be separately titled and referred to on the contents page. They should also be fully page numbered. The contents of appendices do not count towards the recommended word length of your dissertation. You should not include raw data (interview transcripts or questionnaire responses) as an appendix. Ensure that any supplemental information provided (e.g. policy documents) are sufficiently anonymised.
14. Presentation and layout of dissertations – Refer to the Completion Guidelines. The dissertation must be an edited document satisfying University Regulations. Apart from pre-pages identified as contents, etc. all pages must be numbered (sequentially), including appendices. Inclusions such as images must be permanently secured within the text. Graphic displays (charts, graphs, diagrams, images, etc.) should be numbered and entitled below the display (e.g. Figure 1.), with the source A11 referenced. The exception is tables where the label should be the above. All references to them in the text should bear their page numbers as well as their individual title number. The purpose of images should be to lend clarity, not to decorate; they should therefore not be too elaborate, numerous or intrusive to the flow of text, nor too elaborate. A decimal numbering system for sections and sub-sections is helpful. Accompanying indents also lend clarity. Differentiated headings and subheadings are a good idea, with ample space between sections. It is worth giving considerable thought to a section and page numbering system since the readability of dissertations is important. Readers need to know exactly where they are in a document and how to find a particular entry or section at random. The use of informative sub-headings wherever necessary is good practice. You should start each chapter on a new page (using section breaks)
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